You Can’t Approve NCC Budget, Senator Adeola Tells Finance Minister
The senator representing the largest senatorial district in Nigeria in terms of population and the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Communications, Senator Solomon Adeola has faulted the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun on her submission that Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, among other revenue generating agencies are to submit their “budgets for approval”.
Reacting to the briefing of the minister after the first Federal Executive Council meeting in the year, Senator Adeola said under the NCC Act, only the National Assembly is empowered to consider and approve the budget of NCC stressing that any attempt by the minister of Finance and the supervising minister to approve the budget of NCC in particular would amount to a breach of the law and an encroachment on the function and power of the national legislature.
“I am surprise that the minister was quoted as including NCC among other agencies it would require to submit budgets for her and other supervising ministers to approve. As well intentioned as this may seem in the effort to generate revenue and block leakages, it is a flagrant
contravention of the NCC Act as well as usurping the power of the National Assembly to approve the budget of NCC” he stated.
The Vice Chairman of Senate Committee on Communications referred the minister to Sections 17-21 of the NCC Act that dwells on the financial provisions for NCC adding that the only fund NCC is mandated to pay to the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation is “ all monies accruing from the sale of spectrum” as contained in Section 17(3).
While asserting that NCC is a semi- autonomous commission in carrying out its functions, Senator Adeola said the Finance minister only comes in if the NCC want to borrow money adding that Section 25(2)of the Act expressly forbids even the supervising minister from undue interference thus: “ In execution of his functions and relationship with the Commission, the minister shall at all times ensure that the independence of the Commission, in regard to the discharge of its functions and operation under this Act, is protected and not compromised in any manner whatsoever”.
The APC senator said the proposal of the minister to vet the income and expenditure of NCC is a breach of Section 25(2).
However, Senator Adeola who was the Chairman of the House of Representative Public Accounts Committee in the Seventh National Assembly supported the need to audit all revenue generating agencies as proper auditing of those agencies will clearly show how to block leakages particularly those associated with the nebulous Service Wide Votes